BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine has not made the announcement yet, but Johnny Manziel is expected to follow up his preseason debut as a backup Saturday night by starting against the Washington Redskins next Monday night in FedEx Field.
During a conference call Sunday, Pettine said he has not settled on a starter for the Aug. 18 game. He also denied a report by ESPN's Bob Holtzman claiming a team source told him Manziel has moved ahead of Brian Hoyer in the quarterback competition.
"I'm not sure who his team source would be," Pettine said. "The people most involved in the decision are myself and (quarterbacks coach) Dowell Loggains and (offensive coordinator) Kyle Shanahan. It's something I'm not going to pay a lot of attention to. I don't like being in the business of anonymous sources.
"We put Brian out there with the ones, and that was for a reason. He was ahead because of the edge he had in experience and the lead he had with the playbook. He's done nothing to have that taken away from him, but Johnny has made a lot of improvement. It was him vs. the playbook and he's handling it well."
Manziel entered the game against the Lions in Ford Field with 7:32 left in the second quarter after Hoyer led the offense to two field goals in three possessions.
Manziel and the second-team offense were on the field for four possessions, not counting a kneel-down for one play at the end of the first half, and had one field goal. Manziel rushed for 27 yards on six runs and completed 7 of 11 passes for 63 yards.
"For me, it was a good start," Manziel said after the game. "You have to start somewhere and set a foundation. I got my feet wet and got my first preseason game under my belt. We have three more before the regular season."
Third-team quarterback Tyler Thigpen also engineered a drive ending in a field goal for a 12-6 lead, but the Lions rallied to win 13-12 on a touchdown pass from Kellen Moore to Corey Fuller with 1:05 left. Nate Freese kicked a 33-yard extra point to break the tie.
The Browns are walking that fine line between keeping things vanilla so the Pittsburgh Steelers won't know what to expect from Shanahan in the season opener and testing what the offense can do against live competition.
Neither Hoyer nor Manziel engineered a touchdown drive against the Lions. A week earlier, both failed to produce a touchdown in an intrasquad scrimmage.
"You can't just kick field goals when you get in the red zone," Pettine said, "You've got to score touchdowns. When you get a chance to finish a game, defensively, you want to be in that situation and you've got to execute. I think those were some valuable lessons that we learned."
Manziel and Hoyer each worked with the starting offense on two days last week. Pettine said to expect the same rotation this week.
Pettine wants to have his starting 22 determined before the Browns play the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 23 in the third preseason game.
In June, he said he feels more comfortable with a veteran quarterback starting the season opener. During his conference call Sunday, he said he still believes rookie quarterbacks are better watching and learning. He used Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as examples.
NOTES: John Greco might have pulled ahead of Garrett Gilkey in the race to start at right guard. Greco started against the Lions and was part of an offensive line that kept Brian Hoyer clean. Hoyer was not sacked or was he knocked down.